“DO” Get All Knotted Up!

Recent questions in a control line forum have revolved around the use of  a  type of mono-filament fishing line as control line leads for 1/2A planes. Known by names such as “Spiderwire” and others, the line was specifically designed for its high strength/diameter ratio and low stretch characteristics to “feel” the fish better. This makes it a perfect fit for our smaller planes and a vast improvement over .008 steel line right?

Well, maybe.

The truth is, as every fisherman knows, the total strength of a line is not only in the material itself, but in the knot that holds it to something, in the case of a fisherman, the hook and then (hopefully) a picture moment. In our case it may be the sudden shock of a plane gone slack at the top and then suddenly taking back that slack with a scary “pop”! Three bad things can happen if you try to use regular mono fishing line, the  last two involving the subject of this article:

  • “Boing-Blap” – the plane uses that stretch to play rubber band with the poor fellow at the handle and rendering the event to an accident involving “PIO” (Pilot Induced Oscillation)
  • “ZipThud” – the effect of an inappropriate knot for the line untying itself.
  • “Plink-Thump” – the plane separates and goes ballistic, in missile speak, “unguided” because the line broke at the knot.

The use of modern non-stretch lines take out these problems provided the right knot is used. If you have any doubts about the suitability of these lines for our use, consider that modern fishing tackle is among the most highly engineered areas of technology and the knots developed for “terminal tackle” are just as important as the motor on that $50,000 bass boat.

These should work out just fine. Obviously, replace your connector clips for the fish hook.

Another tip: Paint your connectors to match those of the “up” leadout on your plane. Sounds simple, but I’ve lost a couple to mismatched connections. This is particularly helpful when a “friend” is assisting you to ready for a flight.

Try these knots with a simple test. Drop a weight that is twice what your plane weighs from about 3 feet with the line and knot of your choice. That should boost your confidence factor.

The knots and instructions on this page are from Bill Herzog’s great book, Tying Strong Fishing Knots, published by Frank Amato Publications.

Improved clinch knot
Undoubtedly the most familiar and most often used knot by anglers. Being quick and easy to tie are the main reasons behind its popularity. When tied perfectly the clinch retains 85 to 90 percent of line strength. It can be used with lines testing from 2 to 60 pounds. When using monos heavier than 15 pound test, you only need 3 or 4 turns rather than the standard 6 to 7.
improved clinch knot step 1 Step 1: Insert 4 to 6 inches of line end through the hook eye, making 6 to 7 wraps around the standing part of the leader/line. Insert the line end through the small loop near the eye, then bring it back through larger loop.
improved clinch knot step 2 Step 2: Pull on both the swivel/hook/lure and standing line in even opposite directions until knot draws tightly against hook eye. Trim tag end.

Double loop clinch knot (Trilene knot)
Called Trilene knot because it was developed by the staff of Berkley Company for specific use with their Trilene brand of monofilament. The double loop clinch works just as well with other brands. It takes a bit longer to tie that the original clinch. When properly tied it retains 95 percent of line strength.
double loop clinch knot step 1 Step 1: Insert line end through hook/lure eye twice, leaving 4 to 5 inches of tag end to work with.
double loop clinch knot step 2 Step 2: Repeat steps for clinch knot.
double loop clinch knot step 3 Step 3: Pull evenly on standing line and hook/lure/swivel, being careful not to allow double line to cross over itself. Overlapping lines are self-cutting and severely weaken knots. Trim tag end.

Double improved clinch (Rivers Inlet knot)
I was first exposed to this knot during a trip to British Columbia’s famed Rivers Inlet, home each summer to some of the largest, most powerful Chinook salmon. Guides explained that they needed a knot to turn 70 pound fish without fear of line failure. The Rivers Inlet knot is one of the strongest and is fairly easy to tie. When tied properly it retains 100 percent of original line strength and may be a hair stronger than the standing line itself. It is an excellent light line knot, but may be used with lines testing up to 40 pounds.
double improved clinch rivers inlet knot step 1 Step 1: Take 8 to 10 inches of leader/standing line and double it back, creating a double line. Pass the loop through the hook eye/swivel/lure 4 to 5 inches.
double improved clinch rivers inlet knot step 2 Step 2: Make 4 wraps back up the leader/standing line. Three wraps is plenty when using over 20 pound test, however, making less than 4 wraps will not securely hold the knot and more than 4 wraps causes the wraps to bunch up and overlap themselves.
double improved clinch rivers inlet knot step 3 Step 3: Pull evenly and firmly on the loop, tag end and standing line simultaneously, being careful not to let wraps or the double line bunch up or cross over themselves.
double improved clinch rivers inlet knot step 4 Step 4: Trim all three ends.

Palomar knot
Almost as simple to tie as the clinch knot, the Palomar is one of the basics. When tied well it retains 95 percent of line strength. While not popular for parger lures with multiple trebles (due to having to pass the lure through a loop when tying), the Palomar is easily tied with small lures, flies, and swivels.
palomar knot step 1 Step 1: Double 6 to 8 inches of standing line and run it through the hook eye/swivel/lure.
palomar knot step 2 Step 2: Bring the loop back and make one overhand knot around the standing line and the tag end. Make sure you leave a large enough loop for the lure/swivel and hook to pass through.
palomar knot step 3 Step 3: After hook/lure/swivel has cleared loop, hold onto the tag end and standing line in one hand and pull slowly until loop passes. Continue steady pulling until loop closes tightly and trim. The Palomar is one of the most versatile monofilament knots.

This plane will be in the air in just a few weeks with the line and knots as described here.

Almost There!

Please Leave your comments!


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2 Responses to ““DO” Get All Knotted Up!”

  1. Bluebaron Says:

    Hi, Did you get the Trojan finished? I had made one years ago, mine had flaps and was powered by a OS Pet .099 and later by a PAW Diesel. Yours looks great in its bones state. All the Best, Mike

    • btnflyguy Says:

      Hello Mike!
      The Trojan, like most other build projects got interrupted during the summer. I’m in the process of building a new workbench so that I can move forward on the part of the hobby I enjoy most.

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